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Courageous: NFI Staff Reactions

We have heard from a lot of you about what you thought of the movie, Courageous. This time, we wanted to share reaction to the movie from our own staff. The feedback speaks for itself!
  • "Good films not only entertain, they speak powerfully into deeply personal issues or important social problems. Great films speak to both. On that measure, Courageous is a great film. It is one of the most emotionally powerful films I have seen in along time; it hits very close to home for dads like me who grew up without their fathers. It also intelligently tackles the social crisis of our time--the widespread absence of fathers from the lives of our nation's children." -- NFI president, Roland C. Warren, from his guest column about Courageous on about.com.

  • "Courageous is a wonderful film that provides fathers with the inspiration they need to become the fathers their children need them to be. Any father who sees this movie can't leave without the sense of courage needed to take action and step up to say "I Will" in leading his children and family." -- Melissa Steward, Senior Director of Marketing and Program Support

  • "This movie grips you from the start- it felt a lot more real-life and grittier than some of the previous films by this group. The story makes you really think about the incredible impact fathers can have in their children's lives - real fatherhood is not coasting along, it must be intentional." -- Ave Mulhern, Program Support Consultant

  • "The stories are presented in a mostly realistic way and you can envision similar conversations occurring throughout households in America. The discussion of responsible fatherhood is woven throughout film in different ways along with the negative consequences of father absence. Although I assumed that they would go "hard" with the fatherhood message, I didn't expect it to be so funny! We laughed out loud at many different scenes and even retold them later! I think they did a great job of conveying a moral while still entertaining you." -- Elaine Barber, Senior Director of Events and Logistics

  • “From the opening scene to the very end, I was taken in by the powerful message of Christ-centered transformation and what can happen when a father’s heart is turned towards his children. It’s hard to walk away from the movie without a greater sense of just how much our children are relying on us as dads to be there for them.” -- Mike Yudt, Director of Program Support Services

  • "I appreciated how Courageous depicted the challenges and struggles of dads in all walks of life: married dads, a dad with part-time custody, a “dead-beat” dad, a dad who grew up without his own father, a dad who’s struggling to make ends meet for his family, an incarcerated dad. It’s a movie that men in all areas of fathering will be able to relate to and will be challenged by – even dads who are positively involved in their children’s lives will be motivated to be more than a “good enough” dad. -- Renae Smith, Corporate Outreach Coordinator

  • "Had an AWESOME date night with my wife last night celebrating our 14th Wedding Anniversary! We went to an Asian restaurant that just opened ... Then, we went to see Courageous. WOW! What a GREAT movie! I absolutely LOVED it...so did Angie. Other than when I saw The Passion of the Christ, I've never shed so many tears during a movie...
    it made you go through EVERY emotion. SO POWERFUL!" -- Rick Barnes, Graphic Design Consultant
We would still love to hear from you about what you thought of this powerful movie!

Guest Post: The Courage to Forgive

This is a guest post from Jeff Allanach, a newspaper editor in Maryland. Jeff is a married father of two children, and writes about fatherhood in his weekly column. You can follow Jeff on his Facebook page, Adventures in Fatherhood.

I expected “Courageous” to give me a renewed sense of dedication to living the life of a great father and setting the right example for my children. After all, the movie emphasizes the need for fathers to play an active role in the lives of their children, which I already do.

But I felt a greater sense of a need for deep reflection as I looked inward and saw a character I did not expect to see: Nathan Hayes.

Nathan is the newest deputy in the sheriff’s office that is pivotal in the movie. He is a loving husband, and the dedicated father of three children, so much so that risks his life to save his
infant daughter.

He also grew up fatherless, and could have turned out to be another statistic were it not for the efforts of a mentor who kept him straight and introduced him to a life of faith.

I felt connected to Nathan because I, too, grew up fatherless. Nathan explained it to David Thomson, a young deputy who just finished his rookie year on the force, after David asked him if he really felt he had a messed up childhood because he did not have a dad.

“More than you know,” Nathan responds. He goes on to tell him about the scars he still lives with even though he is a loving and involved father in his children’s lives.

Men usually shrug at having grown up fatherless, unwilling to confront the raw feelings of abandonment that inevitably comes with it.

Yet regardless of the reasons for a father’s absence, the results are the same. A boy who has no father has no role model, and will search for one wherever he can find it. Some find a false one in gangs. The lucky ones find one in church, other reputable organizations, or a mixture of influential people in their lives.

Some never find one, and are at greater risk of poverty, drug use, and even jail.

I admit that some days I shrug less than others at my father’s absence, but the scars are always with me.

No one taught me how to catch a baseball, and I can still feel the ridicule of other kids after letting the ball fly past me in right field. If I search deeply enough, I can feel the envy of other Boy Scouts whose dads taught them how to tie a knot or build a campfire. And I still have a scar to remind me that my father wasn’t around to teach me not to drag a razor horizontally across my upper lip.

Nathan’s scars may have been different, but they were scars nonetheless. Yet he also did something I aspire to do someday. He forgave his father. With all of his heart and soul, Nathan forgave his father for abandoning him as a child.

But here is a key difference between Nathan and me. Nathan’s father is dead. He has no way of knowing if his father regretted abandoning him or not, yet Nathan forgave him anyway in a touching graveside scene.

Nathan showed his courage by risking his life to save his infant daughter, but it takes infinitely more courage to forgive the man who so blatantly wronged him.

My father is alive, but has expressed no remorse for leaving his wife and four children 35 years ago. How does someone forgive another who has not asked for it?

Nathan did, and I wonder if I have the same courage inside of me.

So, is “Courageous” a movie about fatherlessness and the need for men to play an active role in the lives of their children? Or is it a movie about forgiveness, and a father letting go of the scars he feels having grown up fatherless?

It’s both. I just need to decide which one speaks more loudly to me.

NFI honors Sherwood Pictures with a Fatherhood Award for movie "Courageous"

Today NFI's president Roland C. Warren is in Atlanta to present a Fatherhood Award to Sherwood Pictures for the film Courageous, being released in theaters on September 30. We are excited about the incredible message this film has for fathers and plan to discuss themes and highlights from the movie in the next few weeks here on The Father Factor blog, on our Facebook page, Twitter, and in our weekly Dad Email. Stay tuned to learn more!



In the meantime...

  • Read the Press Release about why NFI is honoring Sherwood Pictures with a Fatherhood Award for Courageous here

  • Watch the Trailer for Courageous here
  • Watch Roland talking about the impact of Courageous here
  • Order tickets to see Courageous in theaters, opening on September 30, here

As Roland said, “It’s rare that a movie has the potential to become a movement. But from the moment we saw Courageous, we knew it had the power not only to entertain but to transform the lives of fathers.” Congratulations to Sherwood Pictures, not only for receiving a Fatherhood Award today, but more importantly for their work to inspire men to be the courageous fathers their children need them to be.

Vote to Support the Courage of Military Dads

Recently, I wrote a blog post called “What Can Happen When Too Many Dads Choose Comfort Rather Than Courage” about my visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. While at the museum, I noticed a poster for the movie, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” It was a good reminder for me because I really wanted to see this movie. So last week, I did.

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